Post Script: Nest – Jorey Hurley



Jorey Hurley

Simon and Schuster Kids

Little Simon

ISBN: 9781481452106



Simple text and beautiful illustrations follow a baby bird through the seasons in this sweet tale now available as Classic Board Book.


From birth, to first flight, to a new friend, the first year of a bird’s life is full of activity and wonder. Artist Jorey Hurley pairs vivid, crisp artwork with simple, minimal text—often just one word per spread—to create a breathtaking, peaceful chronicle of nature and life’s milestones.


This book is now available as a Classic Board Book, perfect for young readers.



My View:

Simplistic in design but very effective use of a single word and illustration per page to convey a story – there are endless possibilities for the conversations/stories this book will allow you to conjure up when reading to your baby/toddler.


Colours, seasons, families, movement, emotions…a simple word says so much.



Love a cardboard/hard board children’s book! So practical.


Post Script: The Age of Bowie – Paul Morley


The Age of Bowie

Paul Morley

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471148088



Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.

Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.



My View:


The Good:

The introduction captures the essence of being a teenager and discovering music in the early 70’s – music that influenced society, fashion, language, tv programming, family interaction…such a powerful seductive influence. I also appreciated the lists – of albums and at the end of the book a chronological list of David Bowie’s life- major events and achievements.  I also liked the list of Bowie’s favourite 100 books.



The Bad:

We (the reader, the fan) have our own memories of Bowie, this is Paul Morley’s memory, his fan moment – it did not feel like it was written for the general public but for Paul himself to pay tribute to a musician he so obviously adored. His fan boy moment. Too gushy, to…too much. I felt like I was intruding.



The Ugly:

The use of He….I found this devise irritating…”He is moving from the pubs and clubs into theatres…He is afraid to fly….He is swanning around America… (p.260).


And although this is nothing to do with the actual writing of the memoir – I intensely disliked the tissue thin paper this book was printed on, paper that yellowed within weeks of this book arriving on my desk.



Just my opinion I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.



Post Script: The Cleanskin – Laura Bloom

The Cleanskin

The Cleanskin

Laura Bloom

The Author People

ISBN: 9781925399141


I needed someone I could trust. Someone others would trust. Someone with no criminal record. With no previous involvement. A cleanskin. Someone to come over, do the job, and go home …

Some days, even Halley can’t find the person she once was. She’s changed her name and no one – least of all her husband and son – knows of her past. No one except Aidan, who turns up one day in her small Australian town and shatters the façade she’s built so carefully.

Aidan is on a mission. But why is he still taking orders from his brother in an English jail – at the cost of his own happiness?

When Aidan forces Halley to face what she’s done, what they discover not only changes their understanding of what happened back then, it changes everything now.

Laura Bloom deftly goes to the dark heart of The Troubles to explore the lingering damage wrought by sectarian conflict on communities, families and individuals. Based on real events, The Cleanskin is a story of intense human relationships with a cast of flawed and entirely believable characters.


My View:

A wonderfully reflective and poignant narrative with a cast of well developed, flawed and passionate characters set in the locations of Ireland, Australia and India.  Politics, domestic and international hold centre stage, manipulation is crowned king of this drama.


But there is much more to this story than politics and manipulation, there are so many layers to discover; relationships, love, marriage, forgiveness, growth, innocence and trust betrayed pepper this narrative with interesting scenarios and moral dilemmas. After you finish reading what has been an intense and mysterious story (from the very first chapters you are aware that something needs to be shared, to be revealed…eventually it is …and much much more). And there is a massive twist at the end that will leave you deep in thought – you will not see this coming.


Mysterious, poignant, reflective, honest…well written, engaging, intelligent and thought provoking. Make sure you read this book!

Friday Freebie

Head over to Tracey’s site   Carpe Librum ‘s site      for a chance to receive a copy of the 5star read –  Laura Bloom’s The Cleanskin.  I am reviewing this book very soon – it was fantastic read!


The Cleanskin


***Hint – a Cleanskin – is not an unlabeled  bottle of wine ( unless you live in a wine region) 🙂

– is not  hardened criminal

–  is not a person who has just taken a shower

🙂 🙂 🙂



Post Script: Paul McCartney The Biography: Philip Norman

Paul McCartney The Biography

Paul McCartney/The Biography

Philip Norman

Hachette Australia

Orion Books

ISBN: 9780297870760



The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul’s story is told by rock music’s foremost biographer, with McCartney’s consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. PAUL McCARTNEY reveals the complex character behind the façade and sheds new light on his childhood–blighted by his mother’s death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music. This is the first definitive account of Paul’s often troubled partnership with John Lennon, his personal trauma after the Beatles’ breakup, and his subsequent struggle to get back to the top with Wings–which nearly got him murdered in Africa and brought him nine days in a Tokyo jail. Readers will learn about his marriage to Linda, including their much-criticized musical collaboration, and a moving account of her death. Packed with new information and critical insights, PAUL MCCARTNEY will be the definitive biography of a musical legend.



My View:

I am and always will be a Beatles fan – their music is timeless, ergo I am a fan of the individual members of the group and as a fan this book did not disappoint. I really knew nothing much about the band or Paul McCartney apart from the music and the headlines – until I read this mammoth book – all 800+ pages reveals more than just the headlines.


This is a more than just music, more than the Beatles, more than a love story, more than a story of cancer, dying and grief,  more than a shocking divorce story…. this is an epic life story, an adventure that is not yet over.


My favourite images ( I wish there was more of them in this biography)  p.312 titled “ Rampant Beatlemania, held in check by the tolerant British bobbies of yesteryear” and p.503 “The Apple rooftop concert, January 1969,”  classics that tell the story of a bygone era.



Post Script: The Going To Bed Book – Sandra Boynton

The Going To Bed Book

The Going to Bed Book

Sandra Boynton

Simon & Schuster

Little Simon

ISBN: 9780689870286



It’s BIG fun from Sandra Boynton in this big, big size of this favorite title. Great for laps and sharing, this oversized edition on thick, sturdy board material is perfect for oversized fun for children of all ages. This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush, brush brush their teeth and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.


My View:

We (grandson and I) love this book!


√ Durable cardboard pages – perfect for little hands and grandmammas’ alike.


√Rhyming silly prose – every child will adore reading/being read to about things in they can identify with- going to bed, brushing teeth, bath time…

√The perfect read that instils bedtime routines… bath, pyjamas, book and bed.


5 stars from me!

Guest Post – Remembering 9/11 – Laura Bloom

Welcome Australian author Laura Bloom to my blog. Laura is sharing some very personal moments with us as she reflects on an event that changed and influenced the lives of so many.



On 9.11 my new husband Geoff and I were talking about breaking up. We had both grown up in Sydney but were living in London at the time, and had been very happy for a number of years. Then we married, and it mysteriously brought up issues for us that began to seem intractable. The morning of 9.11 we both called in sick to work, and walked around our neighbourhood, hashing out our problems. We went into a pub at one stage, to escape the bitter cold, but the blaring TVs and weird atmosphere among the other patrons put us off. We decided to break up, and my husband had packed his bag and just left our flat when a friend phoned and told me to turn on the TV.

It seemed to take ages for her to convince me it wasn’t an action movie, and that this TV footage of planes flying into buildings exploding into flames was real. ‘The authorities are warning people to stay at home and not to take public transport if possible,’ she told me. ‘Just in case there are more attacks here.’ London has long been a centre of terrorist activity. ‘You should tell Geoff not to come home from work on the tube.’ I hung up quickly and went running up the street. I caught up to him just as he was about to disappear into the Kilburn Station’s dark maw. ‘You can’t go on the underground,’ I told him, the thought of him being in any kind of danger reminding me of my love for him that dwarfed any consideration of the problems we’d been having. ‘Come back to the flat with me.’

We spent that evening sitting on the couch in front of the TV, watching the Twin Towers falling, over and over again. We decided to go to relationship counselling, before breaking up for good, and with the help of the wonderful British charity Relate, we decided to stay together. Which we still are, fifteen years and a wonderful son, later.

This is the scene I thought of when I came to write about 9.11 in my new novel, THE CLEANSKIN. In what is one of the two most autobiographical scenes in the novel, one of the main characters, Aidan, and his girlfriend Anne, also almost break up that day. They also go into a pub, and Anne also goes running up the road to stop Aidan taking the Tube. And 9.11 also saves them, temporarily at least.

Aidan experiences it even more intensely, however, because that was when Northern Ireland and the Troubles stopped hogging the world’s centre stage. After that the attention of the US and anti terrorism forces everywhere pivoted towards Islam, and for a little while a number of people thought the era of the Troubles was over. It wasn’t, completely – perhaps it will never be. Particularly recently with the Brexit threatening the Belfast Peace Agreement, that in 1998 brought peace to one of the longest running wars in history. But on 9.11 it’s described in my novel – which I borrowed from a newspaper piece written at the time – as though a great wave left the beach and went sucking back out to sea, taking the era of The Troubles, and all the problems Aidan and Anne and the other characters in my novel had experienced who were caught up them, with it.

It didn’t, of course. War and peace don’t begin overnight, and they don’t end overnight, either. But it’s a pivotal moment in my story, because that’s when Aidan decides that one day he will go looking for Megan, his brother’s fiancé, who is living in a small town on the other side of the world in Australia, under a new identity …

The Cleanskin


Today’s Pickled Vegetables Bought to You By The Palomar Cookbook



I have recently received a copy of The Palomar Cookbook and I am delighted to find a recipe that uses the current garden vegetable harvest – beetroot and turnips.   I haven’t ever tried to make (or taste this before) but image it will be delicious – the beetroot especially  – vinegar, a little salt, a little sugar, some chili,  garlic and bay leaves. The turnip – I cant quite imagine how that will be – it is now a beautiful soft pink colour… the taste?I dont know what to expect.

Has anybody ever made or had Mkhallal (pickled turnip and beetroot) before? Let me know what you think of it.

Have you been to this restaurant?




The Palomar Cookbook

Hachette Australia

Mitchell Beazley



Enjoy more than 100 utterly delicious recipes from award-winning restaurant The Palomar, with dishes influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. This debut cookbook includes recipes for the restaurant’s signature dishes, alongside recipes drawn from family tradition, mothers and grandmothers, from influences, encounters, places travelled to and places evoked by their flavours alone.

Pulling on the traditions of the Mediterranean, The Palomar Cookbook is your guide to recreating the intense and evocative flavours of an exotic elsewhere in your own kitchen. With mezze dishes to share, sweet and savoury pastries, simple dishes for a quick fix and more complex dishes for a main meal, each recipe is both evocative and innovative, and – first and foremost – bursting with flavour. Chapters include:

What’s in the cupboard?
Essential ingredients and spice mixes

The meal before the meal
Spiced olives with rose petals & balsamic vinegar | Velvet tomatoes | Baba ganoush

Raw beginnings
Scallop carpaccio with ‘Thai-bouleh’ | Kubenia | Spring salad

The main act
Cauliflower steak with labneh & grated tomatoes | Polenta Jerusalem-style | Pork belly with ras el hanout

Yael’s Kingdom
Kubanah bread | Tahini ice cream | Jerusalem mess

For those who want to kick back
Drunken botanist | Bishbash posh wash | Sumac-ade

“Middle Eastern fireworks” – Giles Coren, The Times
“Death-row dinner good” – Grace Dent, Evening Standard
“Gorgeousness” – Nigella Lawson


Guest Post – BURLESQUE DANCING – Is it Naughty or Nice? Belinda Alexandra

Please welcome Belinda Alexandra to my blog .

Belinda has been published to wide acclaim in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Norway and Russia. She is the daughter of a Russian mother and an Australian father and has been an intrepid traveller since her youth. Her love of other cultures is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia, where she is a volunteer rescuer and carer for the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES)

Author image Belinda_6456_credit Elizabeth Allnutt

Belinda’s new book Southern Ruby is out now.

Southern Ruby cover image

Southern Ruby

Belinda Alexandra

Harper Collins Australia

Forbidden love. Family secrets. A twist of fate. The stunning new generational saga from Belinda Alexandra, bestselling author of Tuscan Rose and White Gardenia. In New Orleans – the city of genteel old houses and ancient oak trees covered in Spanish moss, of seductive night life, of Creole culture, voodoo and jazz – two women separated by time and tragedy will find each other at last.Amanda, orphaned as a child and suffering the loss of her beloved grandmother, has left Sydney in search of a family she never knew. Ruby, constrained by the expectations of society and class, is carrying a lifetime of secrets. Amanda’s arrival sparks revelations long buried: a double life, a forbidden love, and a loss that cannot be forgotten.Southern Ruby is a sweeping story of love, passion, family and honour. Alternating in time between the 1950s and the eve of Hurricane Katrina, it is also a tribute to a city heady with mystery, music, and superstition, which has borne the tumults of race and class and the fury of nature, but has never given up hope


BURLESQUE DANCING – Is it Naughty or Nice?

Belinda Alexandra – Guest Blog


The Evangelist, Billy Graham, described Bourbon Street, New Orleans in the 1950s as the ‘middle of hell’. It would have certainly seemed that way to him with the port city’s notorious bars, jazz clubs, prostitution and mafia activity. Not to mention its burlesque clubs, where beautiful women in costumes of silk and feathers removed items of clothing piece by piece in a tantalising dance until they had stripped down to nothing more than jewelled pasties and rhinestone G-strings. Although it all seems innocent in comparison to today’s strip joints and hard core pornography, it was hot stuff in the sexually repressed 1950s.

With regards to modern burlesque as performed by artists such as Dita Von Teese, there is an argument about whether burlesque is a an empowering feminist art form, or whether it is demeaning and objectifying. The answer to this seems to lie mainly in the eye of the beholder and what they define as either ‘feminist’ or ‘empowering’. Compared to mainstream media, burlesque does seem to be more welcoming to a variety of body types, sexual orientations, ethnicities and ages – with some of the earlier stars such as Tempest Storm still performing well into their seventies. Heterosexual women make up most of the audiences that go to see Dita Von Teese perform so if objectification is taking place, these days it’s by women.

From my point of view, the burlesque described in Southern Ruby is empowering, albeit in a very quotidian way. My character, Vivienne de Villeray – Ruby – is the daughter of an aristocratic French Creole family that has whittled away its fortune in lavish living and she is forced to find some means of supporting her ailing mother and their one remaining loyal but aging maid. Deeply in debt and with her mother requiring a serious operation, there are few financial options available for Ruby to help her family other than to marry for money. Women’s wages were low in the 1950s: a sales clerk earned sixty cents an hour; a telephone operator, twenty-five dollars a week. The average wage for an American woman was less than twenty dollars a week and it was lower still in the south and for unskilled positions. Burlesque, on the other hand, could offer performers anywhere from $100 a week to $5000 dollars a week for the big stars like Lili St. Cyr and Tempest Storm.

Most of the dancers of the 1950s saw their performing not in terms of whether it was objectifying or not but whether it would allow them to help their families and get them out of poverty. For many of these women, it took them out of small towns and backwaters where their only future was to be pregnant and married at fifteen.

As Blaze Starr described it in Leslie Zemeckis’s book Behind the Burly Q: The story of burlesque in America:

Burlesque provided an opportunity to many girls, like me, to escape poverty. I come from the rural hills of West Virginia. My daddy had black lung. We were lucky to get a new pair of shoes once a year. But burlesque got me out of the hills and I saw things most girls will never see. I met presidents and governors. I made a lot of money and I loved it. I made real good friends with the other performers, like Val Valentine. She’s been my friend for decades.


While many of us take our university degrees and the opportunities available to us for granted, it is easy to judge the women of burlesque without truly understanding the restrictions of the era they lived in. I admire them for trying to gain some power, if only financial power, outside of the institution of marriage.

But there was a stigma around burlesque dancing even though the nudity was more suggested than actual, with net bras and body stockings, and the dancers weren’t known for being particularly promiscuous. While the women were revered by their audiences and able to afford haute couture and Cadillacs, they were often snubbed by department store clerks earning only fifty cents an hour for being part of the demimonde. When their performing days were over, most of these women never spoke of their dancing days to their husbands and children as their pasts were considered shameful.

The exotic and secretive world of burlesque was the perfect setting for Ruby’s double life: respectable Vivienne de Villeray living in genteel poverty during the day; the glamorous dancer, Jewel, by night.


Belinda Alexandra’s latest novel, Southern Ruby, is a story of double lives, family secrets and forbidden love set in New Orleans.

For more information  or



Post Script: You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott

You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me

Megan Abbott

Pan Macmillan Australia


ISBN: 9781509817276



Katie and her husband Eric have made their daughter Devon the centre of their world. Talented, determined, a rising gymnastics star, Devon is the focus of her parents’ lives and the lynchpin of their marriage. There is nothing they wouldn’t do for her.


When a violent hit-and-run accident sends shockwaves through their close-knit community, Katie is immediately concerned for her daughter. She and Eric have worked so hard to protect Devon from anything that might distract or hurt her. That’s what every parent wants for their child, after all. Even if they don’t realize how much you’ve sacrificed for them. Even if they are keeping secrets from you…


A mother knows best… doesn’t she?



My View:

You might think you know what is going to happen, you might think you know what really happened…but you dont!


This is a book where the tension and the mystery sneaks up on you, it starts of feeling a little bit ordinary, an interesting fly on the wall perspective of elite sports; the sacrifices all family members make for the potential success of just one, the tight knit community dedicated to winning/to their child…to the sport but this is so much more.


This is a mystery, a story of guilt, parenting, family, love and winning at all costs! What a delightful wicked read! I loved how the author manages to sucker you in; you feel you know what is going to happen next, you anticipate the big reveal or should I say reveals? You think you know best…but you don’t!  Surprise after surprise!


This is an author I will definitely add to my Must Read List.


PS did I mention this very quiet unassuming character – the younger brother –Drew? Watch out for him – listen to his voice…